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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Don't Pray for Me": A Jehovah's Witness to a Catholic

Quit it, kid. God doesn't hear YOUR prayers! 
Jesus hears the appeal of a Roman Pagan centurion.
Hey, maybe God doesn't actually belong to one small group ...
A friend I've known for twenty years through the internet has been dealing with painful and life-limiting health problems. She mentioned an upcoming surgical correction and I was concerned for her. I had been praying for her for some time, without mentioning it to her. The other day I mentioned that I'd be praying for her.

She said that she didn't want me to pray for her. She is a Jehovah's Witness. I am Catholic. She said that I pray wrong.

"I don't want you to pray for me" is one of the most amazingly awful things I've ever heard a person of faith say. I always knew that there were problems with the Watchtower Society but until I heard that comment I never realized how profoundly off track the JWs are.

"Don't pray for me because I am a Jehovah's Witness and you are a Catholic" denigrates the most sacred and precious aspect of my being. My friend didn't just say, "I don't think Catholic prayers do any good." She actually wanted me not to pray for her. As if my prayers might do harm.

I'm guessing that my friend thinks that God rejects my prayers, too, and only accepts JW prayers. This is a small, niggling view of God.

Spirituality, prayer, hope, worship, concern for others, are transcendent and beautiful, are the best in a human being. They should bring us together, not tear us apart. To denigrate and reject these is diabolical.

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and all loving. Such a being could not reject the prayers of a person based on his or her sect.

I think of Hagar, in Genesis. She was an Egyptian, and God sent her water for her and her son Ishmael after Abraham drove them away. I think of the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus did heal the servant of this Pagan Gentile.

I've lived a multicultural life ever since I grew up in a small New Jersey town where my family doctor was a Chinese man from China, my first boss was a Hindu woman from India, and one of my mother's closest friends was Jewish. Living in Africa, Asia, and in the Soviet Empire, I've had close relationships with members of all the big faiths and some of the smaller ones. People of various faiths have said pretty shocking things to me, but this JW statement was the worst.

But, just for the heck of it, here are some other keepers.

From a Muslim:

My school friend Narin, on a bright sunny day, as we were walking out of class, saying to me, "When the time for jihad comes, if you don't convert, I'll have to kill you."

From a Buddhist:

Dwight, an American Buddhist, a student of Buddhist teacher SN Goenka, telling me that since enlightenment and nirvana are what Buddhists achieve through meditation which comes about through the power of their own minds, then probably mentally retarded people could not achieve enlightenment or nirvana. At least not in this lifetime. Maybe they'd be reborn as more intelligent people who could achieve enlightenment.

From all too many conservative Catholics:

It's a good thing that the Catholic Church is losing membership. All the low quality Catholics are leaving and only high quality Catholics will remain. (Really. Many conservative Catholics feel this way.)

From an Atheist:

Frank, union organizer, left-winger. "It would be a good thing if we could round all the Christians up in concentration camps and exterminate them." Especially shocking given that Frank's wife was a Christian.

How about you? What's the worst thing you ever heard someone say when it comes to faith in God?

Source: Wikipedia 


  1. Have you read the Old Testament carefully? If so, you couldn't have missed the part in which God walks on some land throwing infidels' infants against the rocks. There are more excerpts like this in the Old Testament. Maybe it's time to reconsider our attachment to the old tribal myths. They have done their work. Will humanity ever mature? And yes, God IS love; and some of his voice is possibly heard in the Old Testament, in Buddhism, in a Catholic prayer. I think the whole idea of God needs to be reconsidered. Is God really identical with the demiurge of the old semitic myth?

  2. I could probably write a book in response to your last question, but I won't.

    OK, two examples:

    From a Hasidic Jewish woman: You wear pants and don't cover your hair. You're worse than the goyim.

    From a practicing Catholic: the Jews deserved their centuries of persecution because they killed Christ.

    The spiritual arrogance of some is astounding. F--k 'em.

    1. Liron I never heard that "Jews killed Christ" thing till I was in my mid twenties. I was on a bus and the bus driver was a blond, born again Christian. I remember all this because I was so shocked by the statement.

      I hope people who really believe this are as rare as my experience suggests.

    2. Here's a survey: